The morphemic status of -id can be proved by its regular occurrence in Modern English adjectives (mostly of Roman origin): horrid, stupid, rapid, acid, sordid, valid, solid, etc.

  • why the downvote? – victoriah Jun 19 '11 at 13:21
  • 2
    @subic: what does "NE" mean in this context? – Peter Mortensen Jun 19 '11 at 15:25
  • what does "NE" mean in any context? – FumbleFingers Jun 19 '11 at 17:40
  • @FumbleFingers: Wiktionary lists four, including Nebraska and northeast. – Peter Mortensen Jun 20 '11 at 11:01
  • 1
    New English stands for Modern English. We use abbreviation NE (New English) instead of ME (Modern English), because if we use abbreviations ME (Modern English) and ME (Middle English), they can be confused [See books.google.com/…} – subic Jun 23 '11 at 7:31

I would suggest that it only makes sense to call something a "suffix" if either it is productive (i.e. you can use it to create new words from existing ones), or if the words in which it exists are envisaged by native speakers of being made of a smaller element plus that suffix.

In the case of -id, it's not clear to me that either of these are the case. If you can think of cases where you could create a plausible new word by adding -id to an existing one, or if you really think that speakers envisage, say, "stupid" as being made of the morpheme "stup(or)" plus -id, then you might want to call it a suffix. I personally don't think that either of these conditions are true.

[In Latin, "stupor" could mean what in English would now be "stupidity"-- i.e. to a Latin speaker, there was arguably a sense that "stupidus" was derived from a "suffix" -idus, but I don't think that today English speakers see "stupid" as being derived from "stupor" even though both words have been borrowed; and "solidus" possibly derived from e.g. "solum" (="base", "floor"), or at least they share a common derivation, but this notion is lost in English today, as indeed the relationship between Spanish "sólido"~"suelo" or French "solide"~"sol" has probably also been lost.]

  • That's the point. But what sources can I use to justify this approach (there must be some reference books even down loadable from some free e-book sites).I would be very grateful to you for this information. – subic Jun 20 '11 at 7:31
  • 1
    Absolutely. By any useful definition of the term, -id isn't a 'suffix'. – FumbleFingers Jun 20 '11 at 11:21

The NOAD describes -id as suffix used to form adjectives (such as putrid and torrid) or form nouns (such as chrysalid and pyramid).
In the first case, its origin is from Latin -idus; in the latter case, its origin is from Latin -idis, which derives from the Greek -is, -id-.
Wiktionary describes the suffix with "appended to various foreign words to make an English adjective form" and "often added to words of Greek, sometimes Latin, origin."

The words you reported derives from Latin words that end in idus (horridus, stupidus, rapidus, acidus, sordidus, validus, solidus), but I would not see valid as val + id.

  • Thank you, what about -ics for forming nouns denoting different disciplines (phonetics, linguistics, politics, mathematics etc.)? – subic Jun 19 '11 at 17:59
  • @subic That suffix derives from the French -iques, which then derives from the Latin -ica, or Greek -ika. – kiamlaluno Jun 19 '11 at 22:10
  • @subic: search this very site, and you will find: one, two. – RegDwigнt Jun 20 '11 at 9:24

Your Answer

By clicking “Post Your Answer”, you agree to our terms of service, privacy policy and cookie policy

Not the answer you're looking for? Browse other questions tagged or ask your own question.